Exploring the colours of the environment like different shades of yellow is a brilliant way for children to broaden their minds, develop observational skills, and learn about different locations, seasons and cultures.
The Colour Palettes series celebrates the natural colours that you can explore with your child. Each blog post focuses on a chosen colour and all its many varieties to be found through playing and exploring. We encourage you to go outside with your kids, find colours together and build fun activities around your discoveries.
Develop your kids’ palette, one colour at a time. A new natural colour is explored in each of the four different blog posts, so make sure you have a look at them all on the Kids’ Activities page Try these kids’ activities so you and your child can explore all the different varieties of yellow things together.
Where to find natural shades of yellow
Natural yellow tones appear in all sorts of places, from our foods to our landscape. Depending on the time of year and the location, you’ll find your own unique yellows. Here are a few places to start looking out for it:
Different shades of yellow at the market
Some of the richest, deepest yellows are found in food which uses spices, nature’s natural food dye. Encourage your kids to look at these spices in their raw state. Have a look around local markets or shops for the burnt yellow of turmeric or the browny-yellow of mustard seeds.
You could bring spices into your arts and crafts. To make some fantastically fragrant spicy yellow water colour paint, just mix a bit of your chosen spice into some water. Ask your child to experiment with creating different shades of yellow the less water they use, the stronger the colour.
Things that are yellow in the landscape
There are many different yellows to be found in the environment around you. If you have fields near you, they are a brilliant place to walk and do a bit of yellow-spotting. Look out for the dry, sandy gold sort of yellow of wheat fields, which look particularly bright when the sun shines.
If you live in a hot country, try spotting the different shades of yellow found in dry grasses, they range from a very pale almost translucent yellow through to a rich brown-yellow. Walks in the wheat fields or amongst the grass will often mean bringing home stains as well as fun memories.
If your kids get grass or pollen (also yellow!) on their clothes, rinse them as soon as you get home and wash with Persil small and mighty.
In a cup of tea
Tea, whether herbal, fruity or black, often has a yellowy hue, and depending on the leaf it’s made with, the yellow will be slightly different. Try making some different types of tea, and talking about the various shades of yellows.
Can your kids see that the colours become richer the longer the tea is brewed? Camomile tea is a good one, as it comes from a yellow plant, so the yellow is very clear. But Jasmine tea has a greener tint with a yellow-base. A particularly nice one to experience is the warm caramel tone of a strong cup of tea sipped on a cold winter morning.
Of course, kids should be supervised when making tea if they are using hot water.
In the garden or park
One of the best activities to find things that are yellow is to go on a flower hunt to find an array of yellow petals. Whether you’re in the park or your own garden, give your kids a mission to find lots of different types of yellow and to describe their differences.
Bright yellow chrysanthemums can be found in public parks all over Vietnam in spring, for example, and the sunshiny yellow of buttercup petals is waiting to be discovered in the UK. Ask your children to talk about their discoveries so they can compare and describe the different colours and think about how or why the shades of yellow vary. They don’t have to be right, it just gets them using their imagination and questioning why things work a certain way.
Try to give examples to get them started, such as ‘could flowers be bright yellow because they need to attract bees?’ or ‘do you think some dry grasses are yellow because they get too much sun and are thirsty?’ You’ll soon see that they come up with fun and imaginative stories all on their own.
Record the yellow things you find
When exploring a particular colour, be sure to record all the different discoveries. Your kids could keep a scrapbook for yellow – somewhere to keep yellow petals they’ve picked or pictures they’ve made from yellow spice paints. They could even write down their own descriptions of each type of yellow, and note down where and when they found it.
Let us know how your kids get on in their exploration of things that are yellow, and share any particular shades that you’ve found. Every country offers its own unique yellows to discover – so share yours in the comments section below.